By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley received the Agriculture & Forestry Steering Committee’s Strategic Plan to better strengthen Alabama’s economy on Wednesday.
The committee’s five-year plan for creating as many as 58,000 new jobs and adding as much as $7 billion to the State’s economy by 2020 calls for increased cooperative between the business community and State government so vested parties can create an environment to better facilitate economic growth.
Agriculture & Industries Commissioner John McMillan said, “Alabama’s agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries are projected to enjoy a golden age of sustained growth, thanks to a number of factors, not the least of which are our great state’s natural resources and human resources.”
Commissioner McMillan continued with the “Keys to Future Growth” for executing the viable long-term plan. The proposal’s keys include: fostering capital investment; developing a quality workforce; ensuring freedom to operate; maintaining transportation infrastructure; expanding markets and trade; strengthening the land grant mission; and promoting economic development with state agency collaboration.
“By focusing our efforts and working in unison with one another, these goals, which may seem ambitious, can be achieved,” Commissioner McMillan said. “We have taken the first critical step of uniting behind a specific set of goals, objectives and action items that are critical to agriculture and forestry.”
Governor Robert Bentley also thanked the committee and once again pledged his commitment to work with farmers, foresters and related small businesses to create more jobs in Alabama’s strongest industries.
“Agriculture, forestry and related businesses represent nearly 40 percent of Alabama’s economic output of $70.4 billion a year, and this Strategic Plan provides a clear and concise direction of improving the lives of Alabama’s working families through economic expansion,” Gov. Bentley said.
Due to Gov. Bentley’s ability to give his team the tools necessary to perform and Com. McMillan’s leadership, agriculture based businesses seem confident their sector of the economy will remain strong for years to come.